My Christmas Gift To You

I pray you three oranges each day and may they be filled with the blessings of Faith, Grace andHope!

While traveling, in my younger years, I met up with a nun from another country. We spoke, only briefly, but in parting, she said, “I pray you three oranges each day!” There was no time to discuss this wish of hers bestowed on me and now, I regret it! But I’m sure she meant it with all of Heaven’s blessings. I often think of her, her wishes for me and I’ve learned that the best Blessings I can receive are free and flow directly from God! In my heart, I believe she meant the ‘gifts’ of Faith, Grace, and Hope!

Faith, like the mustard seed, once planted, holds to the earth firmly and just spreads wildly.
A certain way of believing without seeing! Do we need proof of everything?

Grace starts out like a wavelet in a tiny stream but must flow to the river and then to the ocean. It knows no boundaries. As it ripples along its own watery pathway, it washes each stone clean. Perhaps, us! Grace, like our mighty oceans, can not only transport us physically, mentally and spiritually to a greater place in our lives but to a peaceful place. Maybe, we are the stones!

Hope, our life raft, is what we cling to each moment in time. Without the compass of hope, we are lost.

To find these three precious gifts, we do not have to dive to the bottom of the ocean; climb
Mount Everest or even take a spaceship to the moon! Wisdom tells us that Faith, Hope and
Grace is buried deep in our hearts! We must mine them out! Polish them as though they were precious stones and watch what happens!

Now, these three oranges can supply us with our daily needs also! What gifts do we receive
when we eat three oranges a day? Plenty of nourishment and vitamins! Sunshine if the ‘real’ sun is not shining. Just touching the skin of the most dimpled orange reminds us that not all in life is smooth! But Faith, Hope, and Grace in our lives, teaches us differently. We can cope!

Did you know that the “Orange Blossoms’” were a special ‘blessing’ to yesteryear Brides!
Brides inserted orange blossoms in their tiaras. In ancient China, the bride’s trousseau was
sprinkled with the orange’s white blossoms which portray the ‘gifts’ of purity, chastity, innocence and fertility!

It was Queen Victoria who chose the orange blossoms for her wedding tiara! And
she was fruitful!

The orange tree is prolific because it blossoms and bears fruit at the same time. I am lucky to have an orange tree in our yard! It’s filled with white blossoms and tiny green ball oranges! By Christmas, we’ll have fresh juice from these oranges. Heavenly scented.

Are you aware that smelling an orange or eating one reduces our stress by 70 percent?

Oranges always played a major role in my Christmase’s past. Being raised by Southern Italian immigrants, the orange represented special gifts to them. They considered the “orange” like a round gold piece. This was a tradition founded by St. Nicholas and how he would distribute three oranges for each child. My grandparents taught me their tradition and I would always find one large orange in my Christmas stocking along with other trinkets.

The orange was precious because of its food values. The orange was healthy for us because of its vitamins, its taste, and nourishment. It was also very costly! Like gold! And if families treasured the tradition, this raised the price of oranges; especially when most people were so poor.

We all love our oranges. What I enjoyed most at Christmas time was toasting the orange rinds in the oven. Their scent was unbelievable. Nothing was wasted from eating an ‘orange.’ And, so great in a salad; especially using the blood oranges for a salad for Christmas Eve dinner.

My husband would peel two oranges at a time and enjoy. Or try a free (from booze) blood
orange spritz elixir!

May you be blessed with three oranges each day.

Nancy Fraioli is a retired Benefits Asst. from Town/Village of Harrison, NY. She’s alive and well, residing in Sarasota with her daughter and family and enjoying the Floridian lifestyle daily.

Her passions are writing, reading books of philosophy, children’s stories and poetry. Her deep love is living, learning and sharing how faith, meditation, and music guide her daily life. And she loves to lunch with the ladies!

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